tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC December 20, 2009 10:00am-11:00am EST
it's time for big oil to stop the lies about climate change. it's time for congress to act. good morning, and welcome to "this week." >> today is a major step forward for the american people. >> this bill is a legislative train wreck. of historic pro portions. >> 60 votes for health care. >> i intend to vote for health care reform. >> a global deal on climate change. >> a meaningful break through. here in copenhagen. >> two christmas victories for the president. are they good deals? can they work? can they revive obama's sinking poll numbers? questions for the guests today, david axelrod, dick durbin and
jon kyl. our "this week" debate. plus more debate and analysis on our "roundtable." with sam donaldson, cokir roberts. george will, and donna brazile. and, as always, the sunday funnies. >> the city shuts down and congress can't get anything done. you know, sort of like when it's not snowing. you know. washington is digging out of its worst blizzard in years. the senate is slogging through another weekend on health care. for now, at least, the outcome is no longer in doubt. senator ben nelson announced he would support the bill yesterday. the key vote will come early tomorrow morning, setting up a final vote by christmas. and a tough conference with the
house early next year. we begin with one of the president's closest advisers, david axelrod. >> happy to have chicago weather. >> you do have it. thanks for coming in through the snow. republicans are calling this a victory. >> every major reform in american history has been a bipartisan effort. never in my experience has one party attempted to increase the government's influence in one-sixth of the american economy over the nearly unanimous opposition of the other party. >> we did a poll this week that shows 53% of the public think their own health care will cost more if this passes. 55% think the health care system overall will cost more. and only 37% think their own quality of care will be better. in the face of this kind of
skeptici skepticism, is it wise to ram through legislation like this on party line votes? first of all, you say this is what people think. i think when people see what happens after these reforms are passed, those concerns will be allayed. they'll realize if they have insurance, they're somewhat secure in the relationship with the insurance company. if they don't have it they can get it at a price they can afford. it will reduce the deficit, extend the life of medicare. medicare recipients will get beater deal on prescription drugs and bett care. the reality will trump poll numbers as the debate is going on. in terms of ramming it through, we've been talking about it, debating it, considering it for eight months. the republican party has engaged in a month of parliamentary maneuvers. understand. the big question is not whether
or not we'll get a vote, whether this will pass or not. the big question is whether the. party will allow a vote. a majority of senators support this reform. the republican party wants to prevent it from coming uto a vote. i think the american people are entitled to a vote. if you're a person with pre-existing conditions, a small business person that can't afford health care. if you're a person that game serely ill and can't afford health care. if you're ill and were thrown off of your insurance because of that, if you're going bankrupt because of the out of pocket expenses, you need the senate to act. >> most of the bill won't be executed until after the next election. >> t things that will protect people in terms of the out of pocket costs. the day the president signs the bill, children with pre-existing conditions -- an insurance company cannot keep them from
joining their parents' insurance policy. there will be a catastrophic plan to join. when the thing goes fully into effect, everyone will be on insurance. insurance companies cannot ban anybody with pre-existing conditions. there are a number of insurance protections that go into effect as soon as the president signs the bill. not to mention -- we'll be reducing the gap in medicare prescription coverage. there are many benefits that go into effect right away. most of them affect people that have insurance already. >> senator ben nelson said yesterday he would provide the 60th vote yesterday. he laid out a warning. you have a tough conference ahead with the house. this is what he said. >> i reserve the right to vote against the next vote if there are material changes in the conference report. and i will vote against it if that is the case. >> he still can hold this
whole agreement hostage. so can senator joe lieberman. but you have others saying if the bill doesn't move back in the direction of the house, they can't support it. how do you thread the needle? >> this whole process s been like this. the president said months and months ago that the best advice he got -- the president said he thought that health care reform would be declared dead five times before it passed. seven presidents have tried this, seven presidents have failed. we've been talking about it for 100 years. nobody expected this to be easy. i think there's a determination in that congress to get something done here. everybody understands that we can't sustain the system as it is. it's crushing families and businesses. people need protections against the excesses of their insurance companies. people that don't have insurance
need to have insurance. we need to reduce the overall cost of the system. i think that te spite all these problems, the will to get it done is there and we will get it done. >> the president has to weigh in. huge difference on taxes. the senate with a tax on high-priced cadillac health insurance plan. the president has said that's a key component of cost control. does that mean he's going to fight for the senate bill on the issue of taxes? >> he's made the case that by putting an excise tax on the high insurance policies, you'll encourage them to get rid of the feather bedding and the waste and make the policies more efficient. he still believes that. i'm not going to negotiate here. we'll have the discussion moving forward. right now, we're focusing on getting the bill through the senate so we can take the final step and bring relief to the american people. >> senator nelson fought hard
for new language on abortion. it is now being opposed by planned parenthood and the national abortion rights action league. it's being opposed by the national right to life committee and others. you could argue that shows you've gotten something right because everyone on the wings is against it. it also shows how tenuous the compromise is. can that center hold? >> i think it can because what's at stake is so great. think -- i think that people -- barbara boxer, one of the great advocates for abortion rights, in the senate was in the room when this was thrashed out. i think she paid a great deal of attention to the details of this. the president's goal was not to upset what the existing federal law was, that you don't use
federal funds for abortion services. he felt this was not the vehicle through which to have that debate. we believe that the compromise was faithful to that commitment. people on either side of the debate who would like to use this process in other ways. i understand that. this is not the vehicle for it. >> congressman stupac says he's not satisfied. can he bring down the bill again? >> this is what the legislative process is about. everybody is trying to leverage their best position. i think that the compromise that was arrived at was good because it preserved the rights of women to choose. and didn't change existing law in way that -- one way or the other. i expect people can rally around that. that will be thrashed out. >> you got in hot water earlier this week when you called howard dean insane.
>> i didn't say he was insane. i want to make that clear. he's a friend of mine, i have a lot of respect for him. i said it would be insane to pass on an opportunity to affect the future and well being of families across the country. i still believe that. probably an unfortunate choice of words. >> what do you say to dean, people like him, they say they have given an awful lot. they've given up the public option, no question about that. the medicare buy-in. they see centrists -- moderate democrats, ben nelson, joe lieberman, making demands, getting everything they want? >> when you get to 60, everybody has demands. this bill has imprints of 60 members of the senate, and
frankly republicans as well. there were 160 andments. in one of the health committees adopted from the republican party. look, governor dean's main concern was, he called it a 2k3w50i6 away to the insurance companies. his facts were wrong. the fact is that this bill, for the first time, prohibits insurance companies from spending excessive amounts of money on ceo salaries, administrative costs, on shareholder profits. so that more money is devoted to patient care. that's written into the bill. we're going to have competition within the health insurance exchanges. where people who don't have insurance go to get it. there will be a whole range of guarante guarantees. the patient's bill of rights that was fought so -- so vehemently in the '90s and insurance companies won, it's embedded it in this bill. every american will have greater leverage with their insurance company.
they won't be subject to the vagaries of insurance companies. that's a great victory. for american consumers, patients, families, businesses. >> one final question on iran. there was a report earlier this week that said that documents obtained showing that iran was working on a nuclear trig person they've been looked at by intelligence agencies. in authentic, the most significant evidence yet that iran has a nuclear weapons program. diane sawyer interviewed president ahmadinejad and here was the exchange. >> crics saying this is the smoking gun. have you been testing a new initiator? >> translator: i think some of that has turned into a tasteless joke. >> would you like to see this document? is it a joke? >> translator: no, they are fabricated painers issued by the american government. >> will you return to talks on
nuke year issues? >> translator: we have not closed the dialogue idea. >> fabricated documents by the u.s. government? >> nobody has any illusions about the intent of the iranian government. we have allowed them to ship the nuclear material to be reprocessed for peaceful use. they've passed on that deal so far. in the international community, they're going to have to deal with that if they don't change their minds. understand george -- >> he's not going change his mind. he says he's going to talk more. >> we'll see about that. understand, george, what's happened. when we came to office, iran was united and the world was divided. today, iran is bitterly divided and the world community has come together. the president has been a big force in bringing them together.
i think the world is united to take additional steps if the iranians don't turn it around. >> if they don't turn it around by december 31st, sanctions will come? >> plainly there will be consequences if they don't turn around. >> david, thank you very much. >> good to be with you. >> we're joined by the senate whips. senators dick durbin and jon kyl. senator kyl, let me start with you. david says that the republicans are holding this up. >> i think it's interesting that the american people oppose this legislation, by every opinion poll. cnn last week, 61% oppose. david axelrod tipped his position off when he said the people in washington know best now, eventually, the american people will come around and like this. they can't sell on it the merits. the way they sell it is through an artifice. first of all, you have to vote up against christmas. if you want to go home for christmas, you have to go
through the series of votes and vote for it. secondly, what do you want? e president is reported to have tad said to people at the white house, everything is negotiable except getting the bill. what do you want? the represent frif nebraska gets his state exempted from having to pay the increased medicaid costs associated with this bill. the rest of , the good folks from illinois and arizona, we're going to be paying the $26 billion for the increased medicaid that the people in nebraska will not have to bear. >> i thought it was -- >> this is $26 billion for the additional cost of coverage over ten years, as my understanding. that's the number. i was born in nebraska, i like nebraska. >> but not that much? >> i agree that the -- if it's
not a good deal. if it's not a good deal for the people of nebraska, why sit good for the rest of us to do it? >> president obama made commitments on thanks trance transparency. he said he was going to have negotiations on c-span. you had eight democrats saying that bill would have to be seen by the entire public for 72 hours. then the back door deal for nebraska. >> that's not factual. the 2,000 page bill has been on the internet for three weeks. it's on the republican senate website because they don't have a bill. >> the manager's amendment -- >> it's not a complete rewrite. it's 383 pages to 2,000. it changes things for sure. the amendment was put on the internet yesterday. it will be on the internet 72
hours before we take a vote. virtually 72 hours before we take a vote on tuesday morning. there wnt be complaint that it's not there for the world to see. it was read yesterday on the floor. i read the bill as it was read. as for the particulars, the expansion of medicaid, we protect all the states for a few years. there's no question about it. >> but nebraska is permanent. >> whether it's permanent or not, i can't say. >> well, it's been reported. >> it's been reported. i will say this much, yesterday was break through day when senator nelson announced his support. we have to look at the positive side of this thing. we're able to say to the american people, we're going to help you make health insurance more affordable. ten years ago, a health insurance policy for a family of four through the work place was $6,000 for an annual premium. today, it's $12,000. ten years later. in eight years, it will be $24,000. people have a right to be skeptical as to whether the cost
will come down. we're going to bring the cost to government down dramatically we'll bring the deficit down $130 billion in the first ten years. and they said -- i hope jon will acknowledge this -- they said last night, the new amendment means that the deficit in the second ten years will come down up to $1.3 trillion. >> it's significant. the congressional budget office, nonpartial, says it will cover 30 million people, a significant deficit in the second ten years. >> still 20 million people not covered. the congressional budget office made it clear that all of the things in the bill have to happen. they expressed doubt if they would -- in order to achieve savings. $130 billion over ten years the alleged savings. that's the same amount from last october. om the budget deficit. so if you want to cut $130
billion from ten years of spending, just don't have the budget deficit we had last october. by cutting medicare, by half a billion dollars. if you givme a pen and say, how much do you want to increase taxes to not have a budget deficit, i can theoretically do that. what does that do to american families and the matter of premiums? premiums are not going to go down under the legislation. in fact, if you're in the individual market, they'll go up between 10% and 13%. >> an important point. some doubt over whether the savings can be achieved. can you and the democrats commit that if the savings are not achieved you will slow the expansion? >> the bottom line is there's not a bill in the history of congress that reduces the deficit this much. my colleague makes it sound easy.
to cut $130 billion. he's never proposed that, that i kn of. when it comes to the reduction in costs, we're putting in place things that i think will dramatically change insurance in america. >> if they don't will you commit to scaling back the program? >> we have to commit to saving money in the program. there's things now where procedures in minnesota cost one-half of what they cost in miami. why? it's not a matter of lopping off benefits. we can provide them in a more quality, cost effective way. make insurance more affordable for all families. expand the reach. jon criticizes because we didn't catch all 50 million uninsured. 94% of americans will have
health insurance under this bill. the largest percentage of americans with coverage in our history. >> up until the last moment, you heard david axelrod say that the compromise reached was faithful not to have the government pay for abortions. do you agree? >> i don't. i think the catholic biche shops and the right to life organizations with correct. for the first time in 30 years, other people in the country would be paying taxes that would support subsidies for people in the insurance exchanges that could cover abortion. there's a state opt out. if your state opts out, you're still paying the taxes. that breaks a deal that we have had for a long time. neither side is going to
persuade the other that they're correct. we'll call a truce to make sure that no federal funding is used to pay for abortions. i hope they will continue to insist on the correct language. >> what we agreed to is for those that buy an insurance policy with abortion coverage that receive a federal tax credit will be required to pay make a separate payment each month, so it's clear delineation. frankly, this shouldn't be the forum for the debate on abortion. >> are you confident you can sell this to the pro-choice forces in the house? two of the leaders of the pro-choice voices in the house have said this may be unconstitutional. >> as you noted earlier, both sides are saying they don't like it. i think it is a reasonable middle course. are we going to stop the issue of finding stability on health insurance in america? are we giving up on 30 million americans having health insurance coverage? we want to relitigate the
abortion issue? let's stick with the basic principle. let's deline yat the payments as we do every day. if we sent a federal check to a catholic school and said, don't use it for religious purposes, it won't be. a final thought on the co copenhagen visit. implicit in the president's appearance in copenhagen is that the senate would pass the cap and trade legislation this year. are you prepared to they the democrats will pass it in 2010 or do you want a breather? >> everybody would love to be home for christmas. we have a responsibility to deal with the issue. china, one of our great competitors in the world is taking the green leap forward, as they say. they're committing themselves an energy efficient economy. they are building mpanies,
even in the united states, that will make those products. will the uted states stand by the sidelines or be part of the leap forward? >> so that's a yes? >> we're going to move forward. i hope we can get it done in the coming year. >> neither the president or secretary of state can go to copenhagen and make large commitments without senate confirmation or ratification. as a result, the senate will have to act on this. there is not the support right now for that. my guess is, if it came to the senate today, there would not be a majority willing to support it. as one wag put it. by the way, china is among the group of countries that would be eligible. you borrow the money from china and then give the money to china, it doesn't make sense. >> thanks, gentlemen. hope you get home for christmas. >> i hope so, too. coming up, our round table. and later, "the sunday funnies."
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for 35 years we've been stuck in the same energy debate. i'm david vieau, ceo of the largest advanced battery company in the u.s. - bringing manufacturing jobs back to america's heartland. with so many americans out of work, we can't afford the same old energy bill. we need a strong energy and climate bill to create stable markets so u.s. businesses can be lders in the world. tell the senate to pass a strong energy and climate bill - because this isn't about politics, it's about people. on health reform, its time to put insurance companies to the test. they say reform will cut medicare benefits.
"false" says aarp. the senate plan protects your benefits. their attacks on cost? not true. cbo says reform will lower costs and actually cut the deficit. government takeover? another lie. medical decisions stay with you and your doctor. the truth is insurance companies will say anything to protect their billions in profits. this is my last broadcast in this chair. it's hard to walk away from what i honks honestly think is the best job in the world. my parents taught me you should understay, not overstay, your welcome. i thank you for instilling trust in us each evening. objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these
days. it's critically important. sit what we strive for each night. i'm charlie gibson, i hope you've had a good day. i've had so many good days here. for all of us at abc news, have a great weekend, and a joyous holiday season. charlie gibson says good-bye. diane sawyer starts on "world news" tomorrow. "the roundtable" starts right now. i'm joined by cokie, george, donna, and sam. george, you watched the debate. it's clear both sides are all in. even though it's unpopular now, it will be later. republicans, including our friend, matthew dowd, he said this is a catastrophic success. for the democrats, likening to it george w. bush on iraq, short term, success, long term, disaster.
>> 32% of the country approves of this. "washington post" says 30% of independents support it. north dakota, 28% support it. 67% of people in nebraska against it. why else did senator reid have to use the entire taxing ability of the government to get 60 votes? including 49 states shall have this burden, nebraska won't? >> i think the democrats lost control of the argument, the message. that's why the polls are as they are. if anybody looked at the bill, which has not been easy to do, but now you can. if you're dissatisfied with the insurance you have now or are not getting any now, you would see a bill that is a federal frame work for health insurance for everybody for the first time
ever a will be a trillion-dollar health bill. a lot of people are going to like ate whole lot once they see what's in it. >> can they wait that long? >> for the first time, it's got long-term care in it. paid for, totally paid for long-term care insurance. so i think that there's a lot here people are going to like. it's just a question of understanding it. the democrats should have been getting that out there more. >> i think, george, you're right if it's in stone. the health care bill from here on. that's not true. >> which part is he right about? >> that in fact, it probably would be a terrible mistake. but, without taking that step, a quotation you love, i think is right, if you start to take vienna, take it. then worry about how to administer the city later. they took it without firing a shot the first time. the point is, they did.
two french marshalls took the bridge and all that. this step in passing a bill now is a first step. no, these provisions will be changed, i hope, i trust in the years ahead. but without the first step, we're never going to have a bill which covers people and begins the process of reducing the cost. >> does that argument sell? is this worth it after a lot of the things they love, like the public option, have been dropped? you've seen the liberal group, moveon.org do after it. >> i want a pony, i would like to be four inches taller >> i don't know if we can make you taller. >> do you want health care reform to fail? i do. >> we'll find you some high heels. >> consider it done. >> that's made a lot of democrats in the house and senate livid. the fact that these senators will hold up the bill to get whatever they want.
>> i believe that many progressives, liberals are disappointed. we wanted a single pair. that was off the table. we got our appetite up for the public option, that disappeared in the senate. and the medicare buy-in was removed as well. and now we're left with the insurance reforms, arguing that this will lower the deficit, lower the premiums, save lives. >> what's wrong with that argument? >> that all sounds pretty good. >> excuse me. >> i'm from new orleans, i was about to say a little bit of love and a six pack, we'll all be good. the truth is, there's a lot of good stuff in the bill, a lot to celebrate. seven presidents have tried, seven presidents have failed. this president will sign a health care bill. it will not be everything people wanted. i'm sure the liberals, conserve tifrs ll not be all happy. it will lower costs, help individual families.
>> if ted kennedy were here, and vicki kennedy wrote a wonderful piece, you wouldn't be hearing all this. it would be his voice not howard dean's voice. >> but he would be saying, take it. >> you wouldn't be hearing from the "progressives." you would be hearing teddy kennedy saying, this is a tremendous step forward, he would say, take it. >> howard dean is a perfect example of, lord, i can take care of my enemies, protect me from my friends. i hope my children would be old enough to benefit then. >> if you add up everything they're saying, does this mean that the house has to swallow what the senate is going to pass? >> that's why that's not over. there's institutional pride here. the house is being told, take this and swallow it whole. this is probably the only bill that can get 60 senate votes. there are major differences in
here. the house will reject the tax on the cadillac programs. the expensive ones. >> 170 house members agast it right now. >> the senate will reject the surtax on affluent americans. senator nelson voted against both. against both? that's the heart of the bill? bayh, lincoln, and webb voted against one or the other. they have explaining to do. >> they'll make deals. >> you're supposed to make deals. the person i have really new-found respect for is harry reid. he's kept the senate in session relentlessly. it reminded me of the long-time chairman of the house appropriations committee. he said, the only way the senate can work is by unanimous consent or exhaustion. and he's exhausting them into passing the bill. >> the issue that may not be
susceptible to a final bill is the piece on abortion. there is a deal right now in the senate, you see it taking fire from all sid. i was struck, i asked senator durbin about it, the pro-choice people saying it may be unconstitutional. if they believe that, and vote on it, this deal goes down. >> you have barbara boxer in the room, she's representing the beliefs, i believe, on many pro-choice americans. you have to come away and think, th should be okay. the reason it may not be, george, is, if you're a woman out there, using your own private funds, not subsidized by the government, but you're in the exchange because you own a small business. you're a individual, your self-empl self-employed. you have to write two separate checks. one for your regular coverage,
one for an abortion rider. it makes no sense. i understand the fire wall. many of the pro-choice democratic leaders will argue and say that's unconstitutional. there will be other problems. i don't believe at the end of the day that abortion will be the -- i think it will be the taxes. >> the republican position is very interesting. it's true to their party, they oppose social security, oppose medicare. i was there for the medicare vote. there's a difference. in the end, on final passage, republicans came in quite substantial numbers to ve for the bill. you get the impression this time, they have set the political agenda and they're not going to do that. >> they're not. but the -- >> what would it say if the entire republican party, as represented on capitol hill, which may not be the entire republican part yet, says absolutely no. it's either rule or ruin. it's my way or no way. >> you're saying why are the
explain the mystery. this bill? >> i'm saying that congress work this is way, that you fight for what you believe in, or whatever reason you want to fight. but at the end of the day, everett dirkson -- i covered the civil rights bill of '64. until he got all the concessions he could, and then swung behind the bill because it was good for the country. >> what do you consider forward? >> ai have positioned myself here, forward is passing a bill that doesn't achieve everything that the people -- >> the president's brought the democrats down -- >> you heard donna's litany. you want me to repeat it? >> no, god no. once is enough. the president says this is to solve the problem the american people face.
it doesn't solve the problem of the uninsured. 24 million will remain uninsured. >> a third of which are illegal. a third of whom are illegal. >> i thought -- >> all the bills say, you can't cover them. let's take that off the table. i think the republicans in the long run are making a mistake here. that right now, this bill is unpopular. i suspect it will end up eventually. it's not going to happen right away. i think eventually it will be popular. they will look like obstructionists. the other thing that is totally true right now. on any question in these polls where the president's not doing so well, they're doing half as well. people saying, on any issue who do you trust more, the democrats or the republicans? the republicans are getting nowhere. >> that's true, but the republicans in our last poll are closing the gap on that. for the first time, we've seen the percentage of people in the country calling themselves republicans is rising. first time in years.
>> but it had dropped. >> the republicans will do well in coming november. recession mainly. though we appear to be coming out of it. >> i agree. >> it won't be in enough time for all the people that have lost jobs to go back to work. perhaps afghanistan, i hope it's in the short run. it may be longer. in the coming years, it will rebound. >> you're just betting against the democrats. the american people have already fired the republicans in '06 and '08. i don't believe they will fire democrats if democrats prove they can put jobs on the table, have a health care plan that will lower the premiums, take away the abuses of insurance companies. including discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. >> that might be down the road. >> think that's the goal. the democrats are trying to find some low-hanging fruits. so people can go home feeling good about the bill. >> there may be precious little that the democrats can do to prevent a blood letting in november. does that validate the
president's strategy? do everything in the first year. knock it all out. the economy, get health care done. the financial regulation. because he's got a good shot of losing the house this year. this is his best chance. >> he's read the reagan presidency. reagan said, we have to get the economy going, big tax cuts, stick with paul volcr. and support his strict money policies that brought unemployment up but killed inflation. his first term was set at the end of 1981. and he said, well, see if it worked. it did. he carried 49 states. >> but there was the mid-term election, he lost 26 seats in the house, 4 in the senate. >> you sacrifice. >> exactly right. i think what we did see, probably, in 2008, was a 1980 election. a realignment election. we won't know until 2012. that's my guess. >> will he have reagan's economy
for the next two or three years? another abc poll this week. 60% of the country doesn't believe so. 61% saying we're in long-term economic decline. if they're right, the reagan model doesn't hold. this is significant. a good 20 points higher than it was years ago. >> these polls measure at the moment how people feel. i mean, are we going in the right direction, the wrong direction? am i optimistic? that changes. if we're coming out of the recession and if by 2012, enough people are going back to work -- when reagan was re-elected, we still had unemployment of, i believe, 9%. maybe a little over -- 8% to 9%. it had come down from over 10%. but it was coming down. this president has to be able to say, it's coming down, we're coming up. it's morning in america again. >> what can they do? the democrats to hold down
losses in november? four senior house democrats say they're going to retire. if you get to double digits, that increases the chance of a turnover. >> go back to 1994, a significant number of democrats retired after bill clinton's first term. it was a very difficult election. we could not hold the swaying districts. of the 11 retirements that you're looking at, if we can continue to hold that number down, the losses may not be as great as, say, what we experienced in 1994. i think the democrats, if you look at what they've accomplished, credit card reform, mortgage reform, of course, the stimulus. we need to do a better job of explaining to the american people how we're spending the money and how it will help people on main street. it seems like we say, we just passed 3144. nobody knows what the numbers mean.
how does it impact their lives? how is it bringing food on their table? >> the democrats have hit the high water mark. they have seats they shouldn't have in some places. they've got the seats they're going to have. they're going to have a hard time. >> if i heard dick durbin correctly, one of the things that the democrats don't seem like they're going to do is push hard on the cap and trade legislation. >> you think? very sort of symmetry here. the president got a health care bill that didn't have most of what his base wanted, most of what the people said they were going to get. went all the way to copenhagen to get an agreement on the part of 193 nations to make a list. a list of goals and commitments. they were supposed to go to get a binding commitment and climate reparations. huge transfers of wealth. they got neither. >> except for the big nations finally coming together, with no
real goals but a commitment to think about it. the others have not signed on. they've noted that agreement. and noting that agreement is like the cowboy inhe southwest noting the rattlesnake before shooting it. you can say there was a baby step. maybe it will lead to something. that's the spinning of that. a success for this administration is difficult. >> it was hard to go and say we need x and y when the senate has not massed a bill. the president, i believe, took very important steps in outlining aspirational goals. transparen transparency. this was always a huge fight between the developing world and -- >> your favorite part of the meeting was something else. >> that's because i heard president obama walked into a room and --
>> that's because the premier was toying with him. he wouldn't agree to a meeting. >> can you imagine if the president did that at home? break into the senate caucus room and say, i need acts. >> imagine if george w. bush had done that. it was a meeting of china and brazil. the president broke in, supposedly, because he said it should not be negotiations in secret. >> you said a moment ago, a better job of explaining things. i agree. beginning with the president. last spring, he talked about it in a general sense. this summer, when it came to the actual cutting on capitol hill. he didn't try to herd the cats. he let them try to herd themselves. the republicans in august with the town meetings took over the debate. >> in 1972, the rio conference begot kyoto. kyoto begot copenhagen.
copenhagen begets the one next year. i want to see the president say, we're going take $10 billion a year and give it away because of the climate. as i said at the top, charlie gibson's last broadcast was friday night. cokie, you served with him. since he covered capitol hill 30 years ago. >> the wonderful thing about charlie, he was the same person to everybody. the guy with the mop in the hall is going to miss him as much as any one of us on the air. and presidents and makeup ladies all the same with charlie. he's a special person. real reporter. and we're going to miss him. >> he was what the print reporters like to say a shoe leather reporter. he worked. he went and talked to people. he dug up things tsay. rather than just reading the newspapers. i admire him for many reasons. one is that he worked athe craft. >> no question about it. dr. tim johnson called him the
beating heart of the news. we are going to miss him. we welcome diane sawyer tomorrow. this will continue in the green room. check it out later on abcnews.com. tune in tomorrow night for diane's exclusive interview. coming up here "the sunday funnies." took a real hit. t egg what's that website your friend mentioned? retirementredzone.com? that's it, from prudential. she talked to her financial advisor about what she learned there. said it really helped her get back on track. i like that. (announcer) help get your plan back on track. watch our educational video at retirement redzone.com, the site for the critical years before and after retirement. maybe i can retire after all. now you're talking. (announcer) click retirementredzone.com. then talk to your financial professional.
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that's our show for today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. have great christmas. we'll see you next week. there's a home by the sea powered by the wind on the plains. there's a hospital where technology has a healing touch. there's a factory giving old industries new life. and there's a train that got a whole city moving again. somewhere in america, the toughest questions are answered every day. because someere in america, 69,000 people spend every day answering them. siemens. answers.
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